Offseason Forecast: Baltimore Ravens

With the offseason officially underway, Around The NFL will examine what's next for all 32 teams. The series continues with the Baltimore Ravens.

What's changing?

The Ravens don't know how to have a quiet offseason. They have remained one of the league's best for more than a decade by balancing big egos, big contract standoffs and tough decisions on franchise stalwarts. The drama will continue this go around.

The Ravens are among the top of the league in free agents, and have tricky players under contract like Haloti Ngata, Dennis Pitta and Lardarius Webb. They also have to find the right fits for new offensive coordinator Marc Trestman's offense after tailoring personnel to Gary Kubiak for a season. And they have to make it all work while eating $9.5 million in dead money from Ray Rice's contract.

The Ravens released kick return specialist Jacoby Jones on Wednesday. Jones signed a four-year deal less than a year ago. He made $4.5 million in 2014 but will not stick around for the $2.5 million he's owed in 2015.

Biggest free agents

» Torrey Smith: He's easily the best receiver Newsome has drafted in Baltimore. While Smith might be best suited as a "No. 2" receiver, he could get paid like Mike Wallace.

» Pernell McPhee: He was a versatile revelation in his contract year, with a talent for pass rushing anywhere on the field. McPhee is the type of homegrown player Newsome often lets get overpaid elsewhere.

» Justin Forsett: He earned his Pro Bowl nod, but Forsett is unlikely to get big money at this stage of his career.

Other key free agents: TE Owen Daniels, S Darian Stewart, QB Tyrod Taylor, G Jah Reid, CB Danny Gorrer, CB Antoine Cason

On the way out?

» Haloti Ngata : Like Terrell Suggs a year ago, Ngata has an untenable cap number -- $16 million. The Ravens don't want to lose Ngata, and should find a Suggs-like compromise. The Ravens are deep at defensive tackle, but a re-worked contract makes sense coming off a strong year.

» Dennis Pitta: The Ravens have been "cautiously optimistic" that Pitta's career will continue after devastating hip surgeries. His contract is guaranteed, so this is simply a medical decision.

» Lardarius Webb: He's never made it all the way back since ACL surgery and has a $12 million cap number this season. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported that the team has approached Webb about taking a pay cut.

What they need

This is an offense in transition. They need to figure out starters at wideout, tight end and running back. Even if they bring Webb back, the secondary has a ton of questions with Jimmy Smith coming off ACL surgery to go with a weak safety position. The front seven is in good shape, but they still need some younger pass rushers.

Offseason crystal ball

In the fine Ravens tradition of Chris McAlister, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs and many others, Haloti Ngata could be headed for an awkward contract standoff. In the end, it makes too much sense for a deal not to happen. We also think the Ravens will find a way to reward Torrey Smith before he hits the market. McPhee will probably hit it rich elsewhere. Daniels should follow Kubiak to Denver, while there's a good chance Forsett leaves too. Webb and Jones could be goners, because the Ravens don't have a ton of cap room. Joe Flacco doesn't pay for himself.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast breaks down the free-agent quarterback market and discusses Peyton Manning's future. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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